The small committee at the House of Representatives tasked to evaluate the amendments to the proposed P5.768-trillion national budget for 2024 is expected to release its output by October 10.
House Committee on Appropriations chairperson and Ako Bicol party-list Representative Elizaldy Co made the announcement a day after the small committee started discussions on the proposed amendments to the 2024 budget bill, including realignment of confidential and intelligence funds of agencies.
Co said the small committee held its first organizational meeting on Tuesday, October 3.
“There are numerous budget items lined up for amendments and/or realignment including the Confidential and Intelligence Funds (CIF) of various civilian agencies. As authorized by the House and consistent with parliamentary precedent, the small committee has until October 10, 2023 to finish its task,” Co said.
“Since the proposed amendments are of great interest to media and the Filipino people, we will announce the changes at the proper time,” he added.
Co appealed for the public’s understanding given the timetable.
“Please bear with us and allow us to perform our assigned tasks as mandated by the House of Representatives,” he said.
The House of Representatives already approved the proposed 2024 budget on third and final reading without amendments.
Prior to the House’s approval, House leaders issued a statement saying that the chamber will realign the CIF of agencies to those that need such funds most, especially those in the frontline of securing the country’s exclusive economic zone in the West Philippine Sea amid the aggressive actions by China
The total CIF across all agencies under the proposed 2024 budget is P10 billion.
In a separate statement, Albay Representative Edcel Lagman said the CIF should not be granted to civilian agencies anymore.
“All agencies not entitled to confidential and intelligence funds (CIFs) because of the nature of their functions and the extent of their mandate must be deprived of secret funds in their entirety and a mere reduction must not suffice,” he said.
“There is no rhyme nor reason for an agency not entitled to CIFs to retain any appropriation at all as an ‘accommodation’ or ‘courtesy’ allocation,” he added. —Llanesca T. Panti/KBK, GMA Integrated News